Bullring owner Hammerson has finally admitted defeat in the Battle of Nelson's Railings.
The statue of Britain's greatest naval hero will be fully restored in time for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in October - complete with its original railings.
Hammerson tried for three years to resist a city council instruction to replace the railings, arguing that the sharp spikes would be a health and safety hazard. The firm also claimed that fencing off Nelson would be contrary to the Bullring's policy of maintaining open access to public art and would act as a trap for litter.
But hours before a planning committee meeting yesterday that would have started a legal process to enforce Hammerson to comply, the company backed down and said it would reinstate the railings as soon as possible.
Members of the planning committee were critical of Hammerson's conduct during protracted discussions about the statue, which the company refurbished three years ago and sited in the Bullring shopping centre.
Permission granted by the council made it clear that the railings, based on pikes used by Nelson's HMS Victory crew, were an integral part of the statue. Hammerson replaced the statue, a listed monument dating back to 1809, on a plinth overlooking St Martin's Church when the Bullring shopping centre opened but kept the railings in storage.
The statue will be the centre of a weekend of celebrations between October 21 and 23.
Birmingham Civic Society has designed a "canopy of honour", a tented roof, to be draped over the statue.
Civic Society spokesman Stephen Hartland welcomed Hammerson's decision, but warned of a race against time to get the railings installed.
"The railings are critical to whether the canopy can be erected. The whole celebrations might be impoverished for the inability to get the canopy in place," he added.